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Heavyweight guitarists Martin Taylor and Bireli Lagrene meet in the KNKX studios

Both Martin Taylor and Bireli Lagrene have been called “undisputed champions” of the guitar. In KNKX's Studio X, the two sounded much more like teammates than opponents.

Taylor and Lagrene were visiting Seattle on their first tour together. It was a long time coming for this pair who first met through violinist Stephane Grappelli, who founded hot club-style jazz in the 1930s with guitarist Django Reinhardt. Taylor was 23, and Lagrene was just 13.

The demands of Reinhardt's music may have been good preparation for their successful careers, but both Taylor and Lagrene have shown versatility far beyond a single genre.

At this point, the pair are certainly masters of the guitar. However, they both shared with the KNKX studio audience that neither of them really practices. It just so happens, they play all the time because they love it. Taylor and Lagrene performed four wonderful duets in Studio X.

“Like we’ve never played before and never will again,” Taylor laughed.

Toots Thielemans’ hit “Bluesette” found the pair sharing solo and rhythm duties while the ballad “Body and Soul” was a study in melody and harmony, not to mention dexterity.

“Swing ‘42” by Django Reinhardt was a delightful reminder of Taylor and Lagrene’s shared musical background, as each had filled the guitar legend's role on this song when they were much younger.

The two concluded with a deconstructed “All the Things You Are,” a jazz standard loved by Tommy Dorsey swingers, Charlie Parker beboppers and even Barbra Streisand and other pop stars.

After the song, Taylor reacted to the audience’s positive response with surprise. “I thought that was a little ‘out’,” he said with a smile.

Enjoy this exclusive studio session from these masters of the guitar whose music is always "in."


  • Martin Taylor - guitar
  • Bireli Lagrene - guitar


  1. Bluesette
  2. Body and Soul
  3. Swing '42
  4. All the Things You Are
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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